Final painting is in the public collection of the Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, purchased 1910.
The scene is late dusk, looking west along the quay-side and across the inner harbour, fishing boats and skiffs tied up below Newlyn. The light is fading and house lamps are being lit for the evening ahead.
This full-size study would have been largely painted en plein-air. Forbes was renowned for working up these large canvases in situ. The brushwork is therefore bold and swift as the artist has quickly captured the last of the day’s light in the sky above Newlyn, its reflection in the water and the lamp light radiating from a house window. Fires are being lit as we see smoke drift across the harbour. The landscape and buildings are more simply rendered against the artist’s preparatory ground.
It is ‘home-along’ hour, as it was locally known, when the men returned from the quarries between Newlyn and Mousehole to their wives and sweethearts. Forbes is seeking to honestly capture the fading light across the harbour and the town settling down for the evening ahead, but in so doing, he is also setting a romantic atmosphere for the final painting which depicts the young quarrymen chatting and relaxing with their sweethearts and wives. It’s a sympathetic expression of Newlyn with all the hallmarks; the palette, brushwork and en plein-air natural realism, that mark out Stanhope Forbes’ work.